For those who haven't spoken, or been a speechwriter, allow me to make something abundantly clear: Speechwriting is a collaborative process. High-profile speeches are never written on behalf of someone without direct communication, intimacy and deep awareness of the speaker's personality. This is precisely what differentiates a good speech from a bad one.
When I was a teenager, my mom held the job as the regional sales manager for Del Monte foods. I remember marveling at her confidence in her job. ‘Trying’ to sell to someone was something I always thought to be extremely uncomfortable. By that time, I’d done some retail work and no matter how often I was asked to approach the customer, I felt like such a nuisance. Have you ever felt this way?
Alright, so I’m being a little dramatic with my headline. But, a recent tweet from Tourism Currents highlighted that a fairly common client exchange of mine might be more widespread than I thought. Business owners believe they need to be diving into significant social media endeavors without considering the bigger picture and purpose of social media. And they’re making big mistakes.
A good friend of mine…and amazing designer…Brian Springfield once said this statement to a colleague of ours and I found it so funny that I’ve shared it again and again in different settings. This time, it came to me when reading the popularized New York Times Op Ed piece from last week. The submission was written by an ex-employee of Goldman Sachs who, over his 12-year stint with the global financial firm, became disenchanted with the ‘modus operandi.’ Have you read it?
Did you know that the first ‘official’ press release was written in 1906? Yep, it was written to prevent rumors after a train wreck killed 53 people. Then, it was Edward M. Bernays, considered the ‘father’ of public relations, who was considered to have popularized the use of releases around the 1920’s. Bottom line: This is an old approach. The concept of press releases is old.
I had a friend once who worked half of her time in the United States and the other half in Shanghai. At one point, she was managing a large staff in China and interestingly, as an American, she had the most loyal staff out of the entire company. Some of her employees had worked for her for more than 15 years. When I asked about her secret, she told me that she’d managed, rewarded and promoted her employees based on their Chinese horoscope signs.
I am incredibly passionate about public relations. I do what I do because I am skilled at relating to people and I enjoy helping others relate to THEIR publics. It's attracting your followers, building your reputation, creating more "Likes," and even selling a cause -- whatever you want to call it. The biggest challenge to this career pursuit is that too many people believe that public relations is simply 'media coverage.' Sadly, this sells the profession dramatically short.